Tuesday, November 5, 2013

GrassRoots Events and the US Champs

So much has changed since moving back to Colorado Springs at the end of our road trip.  The original plan was to move back to the Springs so I could go back to school.  Then, in October, I went out to Moab to work a TransRockies Event and met Chris Martinez.  Before I knew it, I was co-owner of GrassRoots Events and applying for permits for the Behind the Rocks 50/25 Mile.  I have always wanted to be a race director and it will be great to work with Chris and have him teach me everything he knows.  

We have already been really busy creating our newest race, Behind the Rocks 50/25 mile on March 29th, 2014.  Even though it is advertised as a 50/25 mile, the race is actually 53 and 28 miles.  The race will feature Behind the Rocks trail, Hunter Canyon Rim, Hurrah Pass, Jacksons Ladder, and Amasa Back.  I believe this will be one of the best early spring races on the calendar and will give runners a chance to enjoy great weather and views of the snow capped La Sal mountains.  Like all GrassRoots events, this race will have a great after party!

This past weekend we traveled to Moab to run the US half marathon trail championships.  I ran the marathon last year so I knew the course well; plus, I spent a week on the course earlier in the month.  I came into the race not sure how I would run, especially after some poor races leading into the event.  I did have some confidence because I started training with Joseph Gray a few times a week, and we had completed some really tough workouts together in the previous two weeks.

We arrived in Moab after midnight, on Thursday, and decided to get a room to avoid a late night tent setup.  I picked up Joe the next morning so we could go and preview the last few miles of the course and see the creek section.  I decided, while on the run, I didn't want to get my shoes wet and tried to walk across a small pipe.  I almost reached the end when I started to slip and then fell on the pipe.  It bruised and scratched up my left quad but nothing too serious.  I guess the whole incident could have been avoided if I had just packed two pairs of shoes,  lesson learned.  

I was happy to discover that the race would be starting at 9 a.m.  I was able to sleep in a little.  I started the race fast due to a short downhill but slowed down after a few minutes.  I was in fifth place until the top of the first climb.  Then, at mile five, I was able to close the gap on the third and fourth place runners.  The three of us jockied positions until the single track on Hunter Canyon Rim around mile 7.  This section is really technical and the downhill allowed me to put a few minutes on the other two guys and bring back over a minute on Jared Scott.  

Here is a video of the race:

I moved past Jared, around mile 8.5, just at the bottom of the rim trail.  He caught back up and put a small gap on the next uphill.  I tried really hard to keep up on the hill but I just can’t climb like he can.  I was able to close the gap he put on the uphill on the downhill road and Amasa Back trail sections.  With a mile and a half to go we were running side by side on the creek section of the course.  Now you don’t just cross the creek a few times you actually run down the creek for a little over a half mile.  We were right together until the end of the water section when I decided it would be faster to run through the water and Jared ran up on the bank.  I lost 15 seconds and he pulled away even more on a short uphill out of the creek.  I tried to push the last road section to the finish.  I was closing the gap but I ran out of time.  Overall, I was really happy with the race and it was so much fun fighting it out with Jared over the last four miles.  Danelle did a great job of organizing the race and designed a very challenging course.  

After lunch at the Moab brewery, we headed back to Colorado Springs so I could run the third race of the Fall Series on Sunday.  I was sixth overall in the series and wanted to race even though I had raced the day before.  On the warm up I didn’t feel too bad and was hoping the race would go better than planned.  I finished fourth overall and moved into third in the series.  I didn’t feel too fatigued, I just didn’t have the motivation to push too hard.  That evening, I registered for the Bootlegger 50k coming up this Saturday.  It’s going to be a fast race and should be a great event!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don’t Fence Me In 30k


After spending a week in Colorado Springs at my parent’s house, we started the best part of our six month trip by heading west.  In February, we spent ten days in Moab.  We decided that we hadn’t seen enough in February and another stop was needed.  Once we arrived we realized it wasn’t going to be as quiet as it was the last time so we headed to the La Sal Mountains through Castle Valley.  This gave me a chance to explore an area of Moab that we had never seen.  We made a trip into Arches, one afternoon, to explore the Fiery Furnace.  What an experience!  We had so much fun climbing through the canyons and challenging our climbing skills.  We did have one scare when Malachi decided to take his own route and almost fell down a twenty foot slot canyon.  After the scare, he was pretty shaken up for about an hour but quickly recovered and was once again pushing his limits.  We also spent a day in Canyonlands at Upheaval Dome.  I ran most of the primitive trail that afternoon but it left me wanting to see more of what Canyonlands has to offer.  It seems like when I spend time in Moab it always leaves me wanting more.

We left Moab after spending six nights and headed north to Montana.  We made a quick stop in Lava Hot Springs, ID for some much needed soaking time in the hot pools.  My legs had been feeling pretty tired from the training but after a few hours in the pool I felt much better.  Lava Hot Springs had so many great areas to run and I really enjoyed the next morning’s run.  We arrived in Missoula and spent a few days at my sister’s house.  Missoula was awesome and the trails in the area were some of the best I had seen in a while.  They have a great outdoor community and I now know why they have such great runners.  We then traveled to Helena in order to recon the course for the upcoming La Sportiva Mountain Cup race.  After looking for a place to camp for a few hours we decided to stay off Rimini Rd just a short drive outside of Helena.  I spent three days on the course getting to know the trails before we headed up to Glacier NP.  Glacier was awesome even though most of the trails and roads were still snowed in.  We ran up to Avalanche Lake and Mt Brown Lookout while we were there.  Even though we didn’t get to see much of the park this has to be one of the best NP in the country and we are already planning a trip back sometime in the next few years. 


After spending a few days in Glacier we headed back to Helena for the Don’t Fence Me In 30k.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel after running 200 miles over the previous two weeks and not really giving myself a long enough taper.  On the first climb my legs felt flat and I was a little worried it would be a long race.  I decided to just run my own race and settled into fourth place behind Mike Wolfe, Jace Nye and Jason Schlarb.  I moved into second place on the first downhill and could see Mike just under a minute ahead of me at the 11k aid station.  By the next aid station, at 19k, people on the course were telling me Mike was between a minute and a minute and a half ahead of me.  I was pretty excited about the update because I figured the last 11k of the race suited me well due to the flat and downhill sections.  The next climb wasn’t marked at all and I lost a minute or so due to a wrong turn.  After the wrong turn, Jeremy Wolf and Jace were less than a half minute behind after not seeing them since the 11k aid station.  I used the flat ridge section to gain a little bit of time on both before the last climb up Helena Mountain.  I ran the last downhill easier because I never saw Mike over the last section and didn’t want destroy my legs with the next cup race two weeks away.  I finished second overall six minutes behind Mike.  I was happy with my race but I am still unsure how I lost so much time to Mike over the last section.  I plan to work on pushing myself harder towards the end of a race after losing so much time to Mike.  The race was well organized and run on some great single track around Helena.  I plan on coming back again next year because of the great experience. 

We spent two more nights in Helena so I could do a long run the day after the race and then headed back to Missoula for another night at my sister’s house.  The original plan was to head to Washington to explore the Rainier area but changed them because we wanted to see more of Glacier NP.  We are now camping at Hungry Horse Reservoir for the next eight nights so we can explore Glacier a bit more.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Back to Blogging...Again

So much has changed since the last time I blogged.  In May of 2012, I decided to quit my high stress job in search of a different lifestyle.  I wasn’t sure what the plan would be but I knew that I didn’t want to go back to the schedule I had before.  I was always gone and away from my family.  I spent most of my life in hotels and around people I didn’t care for.  This was very difficult for not only my family but also for me.  I struggled every morning when it was time for work. 

Our first stop in Moab.

I never felt this way before getting back into running.  I loved my job and enjoyed going to work every day but something changed once I started running again.  I didn’t want to be inside anymore and wanted to spend my time outdoors with my family.  Every spring, while working, I would get spring fever and my motivation for work would decrease even more.  I started sharing my feelings with my family and we all decided at that point that we needed to make a change. 


Since May we have been able to travel the country and we are currently on a six month road trip.  We live in our truck camper and even though we only have 60 square feet we are happier than ever.  We have gotten to know each other on a different level than when I had a job and my children are blossoming because of it.  They were always great kids but this trip has taught them to be more responsible and harder working.  Denise has been homeschooling them since May and they have learned more than they ever could have in public school.  Some parents say they couldn’t spend that much time with their kids but we love it and will be sad in August once the trip is over. 


In February, we left Pueblo and have seen so much of the country already.  We have seen 15 states and have spent time in the Smoky Mountains, Washington DC, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas with a few other short stops along the way.  We have planned our travel schedule around some of the La Sportiva Cup races.  I have already run two of the races and am excited about the others.  The current plan is to head west in the next few days which we have been looking forward to since we begin heading east.  Being out east has taught us a lot about ourselves and our country.  The Smoky Mountains were great but the rest of it was way too horizontal for our liking.  The kids want to climb rocks and run mountains and I feel the same way.


I know in 2012 I committed to get back to blogging and failed but this time I am going to make it a priority.  I plan on writing races reports, La Sportiva product reviews, and updates on our trip.  The next four months are going to be crazy.